Team Penske announced today two of the four drivers that will compete full time for the team in the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, racing the cars of the recently-announced Acura Daytona Prototype International (DPi) program. Legendary Verizon IndyCar Series driver Juan Pablo Montoya will team up with sports car champion Dane Cameron to pilot one of the team’s two ARX-05 entries.
Team Penske and Acura Motorsports will announce its other two full-time drivers, as well as additional drivers for the endurance races, at a later date.
The official unveiling of the new ARX-05 race car will take place on Friday as part of Monterey Car Week in California, while the full team will make its competition debut with the new Acura prototype sports cars at the 2018 season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.
“We worked together with our partners at Acura Motorsports and Honda Performance Development (HPD) to bring together drivers that we believe will help develop our program and compete for race wins right out of the gate while also serving as great ambassadors for their brands,” said Roger Penske. “Having Juan and Dane join our program brings together two drivers that have extensive sports car racing experience in the prototype class and have already won at the top levels of the sport. This represents a great beginning to our program for 2018.”
Montoya is one of the most accomplished competitors in racing. Few drivers in motorsports history can match the credentials of the fiercely-competitive Colombian. He is the only driver to win an INDYCAR championship, the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Daytona, all in his first attempt. He is also a former winner of one of the most prestigious races in the world – Formula 1’s Monaco Grand Prix. Montoya and legendary racers Mario Andretti and Dan Gurney are the only drivers that can boast wins in Formula 1, INDYCAR and NASCAR. In addition, Montoya has won two Indianapolis 500s – including the 2015 race with Team Penske, the 24 Hours of Daytona three times and he earned seven Formula 1 victories in his career. Montoya is currently helping to test and develop the new INDYCAR aero kit that will debut in 2018 and he will also test the new ARX-05 in preparation for next season.
“I have really enjoyed working with Roger and Team Penske over the last four years,” said Montoya. “When Roger asked if I’d like to be part of starting this new sports car operation with Acura, it was an easy decision. I’ve always loved racing sports cars. It’s definitely a challenge and it’s going to be a lot of fun to develop a new car with Acura. I’m excited to start the testing of the ARX-05 next week. Team Penske started its winning tradition in sports cars and it’s going to be cool to be a part of a new chapter with the team.”
Cameron comes from a racing family and brings a winning sports car track record to Team Penske starting next season. The son of longtime winning racing engineer Rick Cameron, Dane is a two-time and reigning IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar series champion. He currently competes in the series prototype class for Action Express Racing and he’s earned one win (at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) and four podium finishes so far in 2017. Over the course of the last three seasons behind the wheel of the Action Express prototype, Cameron has produced five class victories and he captured the 2016 series title. With 12 career sports car wins across Grand-Am, American Le Mans and the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship, Cameron also won the 2014 IMSA GTD championship driving for Turner Motorsports.
“Getting a chance to race for Team Penske is like a dream come true for a driver,” said Cameron. “To see all of the effort and resources that Acura Motorsports is putting into this new program to develop and win with the ARX-05, it’s really impressive. I’m so excited for the opportunity to become part of the team and work with a guy who has done all the things Juan has done. It’s going to be an awesome experience to add my name to the list of drivers that have driven for Team Penske. I’m looking forward to a busy off season and coming out of the gates strong at Daytona.”
The Acura ARX-05 [Acura Racing eXperimental, generation 5] is the latest in a line of endurance prototypes to be fielded by the company dating back to 1991, just five years after the 1986 launch of the Acura brand. Based on the very successful ORECA 07 chassis, the new ARX-05 prototype features Acura-specific bodywork and utilizes the race-proven, production-based Acura AR35TT twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine.
The multi-year program will be administered by Honda Performance Development, the racing arm for both Acura Motorsports and Honda Racing in North America.